How to Embroider a Snowflake Stitch

Written by pamela martin
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How to Embroider a Snowflake Stitch
Embellish gingham tablecloths, dresses or other items with snowflake embroidery. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Snowflake embroidery, also known as Amish embroidery, depression lace, gingham tracks and chicken scratch, is a traditional craft used for many purposes, including embellishing clothes and making pillows. Most commonly created on 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch checked grid gingham, snowflake stitching uses only three stitches. Combined with the easy-to-see grid, this makes it a perfect project for learning to embroider.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Gingham fabric
  • Masking tape
  • Embroidery hoop or stitching frame
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Pattern
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Iron

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    General Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut the fabric at least 3 inches larger on all sides than the finished size of your pattern.

  2. 2

    Tape the edges with masking tape to prevent fraying. Alternately, you can apply a commercial fray stop liquid, zigzag stitch the edges, or machine-stitch a rolled hem on the sides.

  3. 3

    Fold the fabric in half vertically, wrong side out, matching the edges. Fold it horizontally. Mark the centre of the fabric -- the folded corner -- with a lightly pencilled plus sign.

  4. 4

    Place the fabric in the hoop, centring it with the right side up. Tighten the screw to hold the fabric taut.

  5. 5

    Cut a 24-inch length of embroidery floss. Separate the floss into 2-thread strands for 1/8-inch gingham or 3-thread strands for 1/4-inch checks. Thread one strand through the eye of the needle.

  6. 6

    Follow the arrows on the rows and columns of your pattern to find the centre. Begin stitching at that point, following the symbols shown in the pattern key.

  7. 7

    Bring the needle up from the back of the fabric at one corner of the square upon which you will make the first stitch. Do not make a knot in the thread. Instead, leave a 2-inch tail under the fabric. Hold that tail in place so that the first several stitches go over it and hold it in place.

  8. 8

    Remove the tape from the edges when you have completed the design.

  9. 9

    Stabilise your stitching by fusing the interfacing to the wrong side with your iron.

    Double Cross Stitch

  1. 1

    Bring the needle up at the top left corner of a coloured square on the gingham. Pass it to the back of the fabric at the corner diagonally opposite.

  2. 2

    Slide the needle up at the top right corner of the same square and insert it at the bottom left corner. This will make an "X," or cross-stitch.

  3. 3

    Bring the needle up halfway between the top corners and down on the side opposite. Repeat, beginning at the left side and ending on the right. This will make a "+" over the cross-stitch.

  4. 4

    Continue making all the double cross stitches indicated on the pattern, always making the individual stitches in the same order.

  5. 5

    Weave the thread under several stitches on the backside and cut it.

    Running Stitch

  1. 1

    Bring the needle up at the centre top or centre left of a white square, depending on the stitch direction indicated on the pattern.

  2. 2

    Pass the needle to the back at the centre bottom or centre right of the same square.

  3. 3

    Continue making running stitches as indicated by the pattern. Remember that running stitches should always be on the white squares.

    Woven Circle Stitch

  1. 1

    Make four running stitches, each on adjoining white squares, leaving one coloured square in the middle.

  2. 2

    Bring the needle up at the same spot where you ended the first running stitch.

  3. 3

    Pass the needle and floss under all four of the running stitches twice, moving clockwise.

  4. 4

    Insert the needle in the same hole where you began and pull it to the back of the fabric.

  5. 5

    Continue with the remaining woven circles on the pattern.

  6. 6

    Weave the thread under the backside of several stitches to hold it in place. Cut the floss.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the same stitching techniques on Aida, hardanger or other gridded or checked fabrics.
  • Knot the threads if you plan to wash the embroidered item frequently.

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